NEW DELHI: The Supreme court on Wednesday set aside Calcutta High Court order upholding the…
KOLKATA: Ruling out an apology for “forcible” land acquisition at Singur for Tata Motor plant, CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra on Wednesday said the land was acquired as per the Land Acquisition Act of 1894.
“The land was back then acquired by following the Land Acquisition Act of 1894,” Mishra told a press conference here after the verdict by Supreme Court on Singur today. “When the TMC government came to power in 2011 we had said that you have got the people’s mandate and if you want to return the land there is no problem. But it should be returned by following the constitutional norms and laws,” he said.
“We were never opposed to returning the land… Now the question will be how the land will be returned and in what condition. What will happen to those who had taken the compensation and returned the land ? Mishra said. When asked whether his party would tender a apology and feel that the process of land acquisition at Singur was wrong, Mihsra said,”This is not an issue of tendering an apology. We have said it clearly earlier that the land cannot be acquired against the wishes of the farmer.” In a setback to CPI(M)-led Left Front, Supreme Court today set aside the controversial acquisition of 997.11 acres in Singur by the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal to set up Tata Motors’ ambitious Nano car manufacturing plant.
Singur verdict: SC sets aside land acquisition for Tata’s Nano plan, farmers to get land in 12 weeks
The land was acquired by the then government. The land acquisition became a political flashpoint in the state from 2006 for the next few years. The anti-land acquisition protests became one of the prinicpal reasons behind the fall of the 34-year-old Left regime in 2011.
The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal today scored a major victory in the Supreme Court, which termed as “illegal and void” the acquisition of 1053 acres land by the earlier Left Front government for Tata Motors’ Nano project at Singur by ordering restoration of land to farmers who will retain the compensation received.
The verdict, which can have far-reaching consequences, was pronounced by a two-judge apex court bench who wrote separate judgements and differed on a few issues, but concurred on key points to quash the land acquisition by directing the authorities to change land use of acquired plots and give them back to farmers who were deprived of occupation and enjoyment of their lands for a decade.
The verdict came as a huge set back to Tata Motors which recently sought Rs 1400 crores damages from state for the losses it suffered at Singur.
A bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra, in their 2-page common order, listed out points on which they agreed and said, “we concur on the question of quashing the impugned acquisition proceedings and reliefs to be granted to the land owners/cultivators. The appeals are allowed, the common judgment…by the High Court of Calcutta is set aside.” Taking a sympathetic view of the fact that poor farmers could not enjoy their land, it said “the compensation which has already been paid to land owners/cultivators shall not be recovered by government as they have been deprived of the occupation and enjoyment of lands for the last ten years.
“The landowners/cultivators who have not withdrawn the compensation are permitted to withdraw the same which is in deposit either with Land Acquisition Collector or the Court.” The bench held that the acquisition of land in the Singur case is “declared as illegal and void”.
“Since the nature of acquired lands has been changed in view of the acquisition, we direct the Survey Settlement Department of the Government of West Bengal to conduct a survey and identify mouzas of lands acquired with reference to layout plans, other connected records, village maps and survey settlement records of the lands in question within 10 weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order, in order to identify the respective portions of land which needs to be returned to the respective landowners/cultivators.
“Let possession of the lands be restored to landowners/ cultivators within 12 weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this judgment and order,” it said.